The Australian Study of Child Health in Same-Sex Families is the world’s largest attempt to study how children raised by same-sex couples compare to children raised by heterosexual couples. According to a preliminary report on the study of 500 children across the country of Australia, these young people are not only thriving, but also have higher rates of family cohesion than other families:
An interim report found there was no statistical difference between children of same-sex couples and the rest of the population on indicators including self-esteem, emotional behaviour and the amount of time spent with parents.
However, children of same-sex couples scored higher than the national average for overall health and family cohesion, measuring how well a family gets along.
According to Dr. Simon Crouch, lead researcher on the study at Melbourne University, the way same-sex families have to cope with bullying and homophobia could impact how they relate to each other. A study recently found that 70 percent of gay and lesbian students in the Australian state of Queensland experience bullying from both students and teachers, so the children of same-sex couples likely experience similar taunts. If a student experiences stigma at school, the researchers hypothesize, the families are “generally more willing to communicate and approach the issues,” resulting in a closer family dynamic.
The Australian Senate defeated marriage equality last September and will not take the issue up again until after this September’s general election. Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd recently came out for marriage equality, explaining that concern about the children of same-sex couples was previously his primary obstacle. Hopefully this research will convince additional Australian lawmakers to support marriage equality when it next comes up for a vote.